Thanks to my trusty Random.org prize winner selector, I’ve just done the draw for the three winners of We Were On A Break and they are… drumroll please…
Commenter 5 – Clair Kirkwood
Commenter 8 – Jonelle
Commenter 9 – RobynG
I’ve just read Lindsey Kelk’s hilarious new book, We Were On A Break – which is all about a couple who find themselves on an unexpected break when a romantic holiday away goes pear-shaped. Here, I chat to author Lindsey about the book – and if you’d like to score yourself a copy, scroll to the bottom to enter the draw. Winners announced December 20. Good luck!
Hi Lindsey, thanks for talking to Letter To My Ex. I have to say I loved following Liv and Adam’s very angst-ridden journey in the book. What inspired the idea? Personal experience of your own, or something else?
The story was actually inspired by the title! My editor and I were talking about some books coming out that were all named after famous movie quotes and I made a joke saying someone should write one called We Were on a Break and she just jumped at it. Once I’d got the idea in my head, it just wouldn’t go away.
Obviously, I’m a huge Friends fan and I started thinking about how my friends and I still debate who was right – Ross or Rachel – and that inspired me to write a story of my own.
Do you meticulously plan what is going to happen to your characters or is it something that kind of unfolds organically? Do you find sometimes the characters run away from you and do their own thing?
I really only have the loosest idea of what’s going to happen in a book. Usually I come up with the basic premise, like ‘a couple take a break’ or ‘a girl breaks up with her boyfriend and then runs off to New York’ and go from there. I find when I overplan, my writing feels predictable and stale so I try to avoid it, even if that is really stressful sometimes!
Everyone works in a different way. I have friends who write to an impossibly detailed plan but that doesn’t work for me. The only way I can make it work is to create the characters, give them a vague idea of what’s going on and let them run wild. I love the feeling when something happens you weren’t expecting. I usually find the completely unplanned moments are the best in my books.
How much research did you do? Did you talk to other couples about their experiences / rocky patches?
Other than raking through my own studiously ignored dating history, I didn’t research relationships at all. I really wanted to book and the characters to be honest and authentic to their own story, not base it off of anyone else’s experiences. My feeling is the characters need to live their own lives and I want them to feel like real people who react in an organic way. I think if I tried to force studied relationship psychology on them, it would feel fake. Hopefully it worked!
Do you think the break is often a kneejerk reaction to something petty and by then you’re suddenly on this runaway train?
In We Were on a Break, it’s definitely a kneejerk reaction but more to Adam’s own insecurities than anything else. They’re both frustrated and confused and sometimes it’s easier to back out of something than be honest with the person you love. Sad but true. And yes, I totally agree that relationship issues get out of hand far too quickly – I’m 100 percent guilty of that!
Cynics might say that ‘we’re on a break’ is code for breaking up…
Personally, yes. I feel like saying you want a break is code for ‘I want to break up but I’m too much of a coward’. Like, you really said ‘break-up’ but coughed to cover the ‘up’ part. That said, I know couples that have been on and off for years and ended up together. Will it work out in the long run? Who knows but different things work for different people.
What’s your view on timing when it comes to a break? Ie, need a break too early (like 3 months in) and you’re toast; need a break 6 years in and there’s some hope you’ll find your way back to one another?
Oh man, I just don’t think it’s a good idea at all. If my boyfriend said he wanted a break, I’d be totally ‘peace out, dude’. You want a break from me? BUT I’M AMAZING. And as we all know, lots of things can happen while you’re on a break, maybe someone else will snatch up your other half while you’re trying to work out what it is you want. Asking for a break doesn’t mean you get to put the other person’s life on hold. If it’s too early in a relationship, I’d say it’s a bad sign that the other person can’t commit. If It’s as late as six years, I’d say get out – if they don’t know what they want now, they never will!
Liv and Adam struggle with the ‘rules’ during their break. Are you a fan of rules during a break? I think there’s this unspoken protocol that a break is just ‘time to think’ rather than to play hide the sausage with someone else, but what do you think? Should a break be an ‘all bets are off’ type of scenario?
If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to have rules. But that said, rules require honest communication and I think in the case of most breaks, that’s half the trouble in the first place. My personal feeling would be no sausages should be hidden anywhere other than in their own underwear until there’s an ‘up’ added to the end of the break. It’s just disrespectful.
On that note, should what happens on a break stay on a break?
Dear god, yes.
Do you hope your book brings a little hope and, maybe, humour to someone suffering through heartbreak?
Absolutely! That’s always my aim with my books, not just with heartbreak but in general. Life can be a great big pile of bollocks and if someone can find fifteen minutes of happy times in one of my books, I’ve done my job.